San Diego Padres
W: T. Chatwood
L: E. Volquez
S: R. Betancourt
View from the beach
I think I want to move to San Diego. I am currently a man without a home as I wander America living out of my car. The lease to my apartment in Manhattan ran out in May of this year at which point I packed my life into a car and hit the road. I have no idea where I am going to be living on September 1st when this tour comes to a close, but San Diego just moved towards the top of my list.
This is the shortest stay that I have in any city for my tour. I have no “off day” here in San Diego as I have to hustle up to San Francisco tomorrow for an early day game the next day. Because of that I wanted to try and pack in as much San Diego fun as possible in one day. This unfortunately did not include the famed zoo, but did include a peaceful walk at the Seaport Village where I got to enjoy a nice cigar and a great meal.
Before we relaxed at the seaport, Rindler and I decided to check out the ballpark tour at Petco. The San Diego Padres are an interesting team. They are the fifth-most talked about team in their own state. Despite being in the Major Leagues since 1969, they rarely make headlines nationally. Even during the decades when they hosted one of the greatest hitters in the history of this sport (Tony Gwynn), they never got the respect they deserved. I will admit that there are times when I have forgotten about the Padres, but after visiting Petco Park I am confident that this will never happen again.
The tour began with a walk through the grounds crew area inside the stadium which gave us a unique look at the mounds of dirt that are used for the warning track. We were also taken into the Western Metal Supply Co. building that has an awesome bar that is open to the ticketed public throughout the game. It is a fun place to grab some craft brews and have a great view of the park. The rest of the tour was fairly standard, but this is a ballpark that was really fun to just walk through. You can see more photos of the tour above in the gallery.
You do not need me to tell you that San Diego is a gorgeous place to play baseball (70 degrees and sunny everyday is pretty nice), but I was surprised at how many passionate baseball fans I met here today. When the national press talks about baseball they generally focus on New York, Boston and St. Louis. Baseball has long since been considered an East Coast, or maybe a Midwestern game. With the Dodgers and the Angels spending exorbitant amounts of money as of late it seems as if the West Coast is trying to force their way into the conversation, but San Diego remains a small market team in the shadow of the Giants, A's, Dodgers and Angels. They have built a fantastic stadium here in Southern California and the photo on the left shows just how much Petco Park has revitalized the downtown San Diego area in a little over a decade. I like this ball club, I like this stadium and I like this city.
Before the game there is a section outside of the park, but inside the gates where people are free to roam and enjoy some food, music and a little beach just outside the right field fences. Rindler decided to take his shoes off and relax on the beach while I went to watch the Padres pregame show. Enjoying batting practice from the beach is about the most fun I have had so far on this tour. Watching the kids follow the ball off the bat and dive into the sand brought back memories of playing 500 in the sand dunes of Michigan.
Once inside the stadium Rindler and I decided on what we were going to eat. We walked underneath some interesting vegetation that we somehow missed while on the tour earlier in the day and made our way towards Miguel's Cocina for some San Diego fish tacos. As we had seen most of the stadium during the tour, we decided to head to our seats a little early and just enjoy the San Diego air.
My Colorado Rockies mini-tour has come to a close. It started in Colorado less than one week ago, but I have now followed the Rox to Arizona and now San Diego. This is the fourth Rockies game in seven days in three different cities for me. With apologies to the Padres fans, I must say that it was a nice change of pace to see the Rockies actually win a game as they had previously gone 0-3 in games I have attended.
The games that Rindler has attended with me have been fairly one-sided (8-0, 0-5, 1-11) and today's game looked like it was heading in the direction once again. After scoring a grand total of 1 run in the past 27 innings (of games that we attended) the Rockies jumped out to a two-run lead in the top of the fourth. After tacking on two more in the sixth the Padres struck back for two of their own in the seventh. This all lead to the dramatic two men on and two men out in the bottom of the ninth that I was hoping Rindler would be able to see. The stadium was electric and the noise that the 20,000 faithful made was inspiring. Mark Kotsay came to the plate as a pinch hitter and with the game on the line...he flew out to left field. It was a sad ending to an amazing day, but I was happy to see that of the 20,000 who came out to a Monday night game, very few headed for the exits before the final pitch was recorded.
This is one of the shorter posts that I have included, but I assure you it is not for lack of enthusiasm about this park. This is a team that is going through a couple of rough years right now. One of the blessings of being the fifth most popular team in the state is that the incessant pressure of contending for a ring every year does not exist. Baseball is patience and the Padres fans that I met have a ton of it. They have two NL Pennants but no World Series banners hanging in their outfield. This town is ready for a winner and after spending the day here I may start pulling for them. A repeat of the 1984 World Series might be fun next season!
Next up: AT&T Park
First Pitch: Mike Harris - San Diego Chargers
Game Time Temp: 70
First Pitch Time: 7:10 PM
National Anthem: Allie McCune
Seventh Inning Stretch: Twist and Shout
Total Pitches Thrown: 288
Total Hits: 16
Total Singles: 13
Total Doubles: 3
Total Triples: 0
Total Home Runs: 0
Total Walks: 8
Total Strike Outs: 14
Total Errors: 0
Game Time: 3:03
Attendance: 20,400 (48% full)
Home Plate Umpire: Phil Cuzzi
Miles Traveled: 40 miles
Time in Car: 1 hour
Sleep Time: 6 hours 30 minutes
Bottles of Water: 4
Food Eaten: Yellowtail from the Fish Market
Ballpark Food: Fish Tacos, Ice Cream helmet,
Scoreboard Cap Game: Under Cap #1
Money spent on parking: $12
Money spent on ticket: $62.50
Cost of Program: Free
Money spent on food: $15.50
Total money spent on Merchandise: $20.00
Total Money spent at stadium: $110.00
Total Money spent today $221.04